Home inspectors carry out a vital service for anyone purchasing a home, but an article in realtor.com has highlighted the need to check that your chosen home inspector is actually qualified to catch potential home disasters.
There are approximately 30,000 home inspectors in the United States, but in 15 states these home inspectors do not need to be licensed, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. States, where licensure isn't required, include California, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Georgia and Colorado. In these states, there is absolutely no official oversight over the industry, and in several other states that include Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Alabama, home inspectors simply need to be registered rather than licensed. The first state to actually adopt a licensing law was Texas in 1991, and now Virginia will require inspectors to be licensed from July next year.
Apparently, some states only require a very basic business license. If you’re buying a property in Minnesota, then there are zero requirements and anybody can call themselves a home inspector and can charge to look at a home. Although home inspections aren’t required to purchase a property, most buyers choose to get one rather than to be faced with expensive problems that may only show up after closing. Any issues uncovered by a home inspector can be used as a bargaining tool to bring down the price of the property, or in the worst case, would-be buyers can walk away from a home that could potentially become a money pit.
Although most states do license their home inspectors, the standards across states are far from consistent. Some states require their home inspectors to undergo 140 hours of training and to obtain a passing grade on the National Home Inspector Exam and to carry out supervised home inspections to become a professional. In comparison, some other states regard a C pass on the exam as being good enough.
The article also points out that even though some home inspectors may have credentials, it doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they are doing. There are certain groups that offer training and certification programs that may even exceed the standards required by states. Another thing to consider is that even the most proficient home inspectors will not catch every single flaw, as they are looking for potential red flags and tend to focus on the structural parts of a property. Buyers are advised to ask if their home inspector has liability insurance and whether they have any professional affiliations.